This information is part of the Champaign County ILGenWeb Project. If you have reached this site by means other than The USGenWeb Project, The ILGenWeb Project, or directly, please visit the main Champaign Co, ILGenWeb site for more information regarding Champaign County, IL ancestors. Information contained here was transcribed by Celia Snyder. Please do not repost this information without the express written permission of Celia Snyder.

Champaign County, Illinois

Biography of Thomas S. Hubbard

SOURCE: "Early History and Pioneers of Champaign County, Illinois," by Milton W. Mathews and Lewis A. McLean, editors of the Champaign County Herald, published by the Champaign County Herald, 1886


THOMAS S. HUBBARD (deceased), pioneer merchant, was born in Cromwell, Conn., August 25, 1825, and was the descendant of an old New England family. He was fitted for college in the schools of his native town and then entered Yale College, from which institution he was graduated with the degree of A. B. in the Class of 49, President Dwight, the head of the college for many years, being one of his classmates.

After leaving college, Mr. Hubbard turned his attention to business pursuits and was engaged in the manufacture of Japanned tin-ware and general hardware business at Durham, Conn., until 1854, when he left that State to come to Illinois. He established his home in Urbana, where he at once became prominent as a man of affairs and a leader of enterprises calculated to build up and improve the town. He started the first bank in Champaign County at Urbana, and later was cashier of the Grand Prairie Bank, which had a branch in Champaign. He founded the hardware house now operated by his sons, under the name of Hubbard & Sons, and was at the head of this business until his death, which occurred May 28, 1902.

The firm of Hubbard & Sons is one of the oldest business houses in Champaign County, and none has had a more honorable record or higher standing in the community. During the later years of his life Mr. Hubbard gave a share of his attention to real estate interests in Urbana, and laid out and inaugurated the improvement of "Hubbard’s Addition," which promises to become one of the finest residence portions of the city. Hubbard Avenue, one of the streets in this subdivision, perpetuates his name also in this connection. He was a scholarly and accomplished man, as well as a successful man of affairs, and the educational moral, and religious betterment of the community always appealed to him strongly. Movements in this behalf received his aid and encouragement under all circumstances. Mr. Hubbard was one of the founders of the First Presbyterian Church of Urbana, and before the church could maintain a regular postor he was instrumental in filling the pulpit almost continually with ministers from Chicago and elsewhere. The visiting ministers were entertained at his home to such an extent that it became known among the pioneers as "The Preacher’s Hotel." He was an elder of this church from the time it was founded until his death, and filled many other positions of trust and responsibility. In 1888 he was one of the representatives of the Bloomington Presbytery in the General Assembly, which met that year in Philadelphia. Before the war Mr. Hubbard was one of the strong anti-slavery men of Urbana, and became a member of the Republican party when it came into existence. He adhered to this political faith to the end of his life, but held no offices other than as a member of the Board of Aldermen of Urbana.

In 1849 Mr. Hubbard married Miss Jane E. WOODRUFF, a daughter of Dr. Wyllis WOODRUFF, who was a prominent physician of Meriden, Conn. Mrs. Hubbard survives her husband and lives at the old family homestead in Urbana. Their living children are: George W., Harry T., Mrs. Minnie LINDLEY, of Urbana, and Mrs. INSLEY, of Albuquerque, N.M.

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